COLLAGE - A Celebration of the 150th Anniversary of the Peabody Institute, 18.57-2007

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COLLAGE: A Celebration of the 150th Anniversary of the Peabody Institute 1857-2007


Glinka: Overture to Ruslan and Ludmilla

Mikhail Glinka is considered the father of modern Russian Nationalism in music, and after the success of his first opera, A Life for the Tsar, the director of the Imperial Theater in St. Petersburg persuaded Glinka write a second opera. This opera, Ruslan and Ludmilla, was to adapt Pushkin's poem of the same name. But before Pushkin could start work on the libretto, he was killed in a duel, causing Glinka to begin work on the opera without a librettist. When a librettist was found, Glinka was unhappy with the product and called in other librettists to work on it, and at times stepped in himself to rewrite some of the sections. Even though the opera was not as well received as A Life for the Tsar, it was later recognized as stronger work from the artistic standpoint.

The Overture opens with a driving rhythmic statement, then gives away to the first of two themes, which is lithe and quick. The second theme is much more relaxed and performed in the mid-ranges of the cellos. Glinka presents theme fragments and the themes in their entirety throughout the overture before the coda comes alive with an increased tempo. This transcription by Mark Hindsley does an excellent job translating the colors of the original overture to the wind band medium.


Schoenberg: Theme and Variations for wind band, Op. 43a

The Theme and Variations was written in 1943, eight years before the composer's death. Composed after Schoenberg had abandoned an exclusively atonal approach to composition, the G minor tonality of the Theme and Variations is clearly defined. Harmonically, these seven variations on a 21-bar theme which are played without break, are not daring or extravagant, but in them one may see a mastery of connection of thought and motivic division, an art of development, and a variety of character for which parallels can be found only among Schoenberg's own works.

The Theme and Variations was commissioned by Schoenberg's publisher, G. Schirmer. The following excerpts from the composer's correspondence describe the conception of the piece:

"My dear friend, the late Carl Engel, then president of the G. Schirmer, Inc., had asked me frequently to write a piece for wind band. He complained that the great number of such bands had an important influence on the development of love for music in America, but unfortunately, there are only a small number of good original compositions available, while for the most of their playing they are limited to arrangements. A considerable part of these arrangements reveals a poor or at least a low taste; and besides, they are not even well orchestrated … It is one of those works that one writes in order to enjoy one's own virtuosity and, in addition, to give a group of amateurs—in this case, wind bands—something better to play. I can assure you—and I think I can prove it—that as far as technique is concerned it is a masterpiece; and I know it was inspired. Not only because I cannot write even ten measures without inspiration, but I really wrote the piece with great pleasure."

It is interesting to note that while Schoenberg intended this work for the amateur wind band, performance experience had shown the piece to be of such a level of difficulty that it had been performed only by unusually advanced ensembles. Schoenberg, therefore, transcribed the work for orchestra as Opus 43b, and it enjoys the unusual position of being one of the few works in the orchestral repertoire, which was originally conceived for the wind band.

Program Notes for Band

Used by permission



Bird: Suite in D for ten winds

Arthur Bird's Suite in D for ten winds, an unnumbered opus in four movements (Allegro moderato, Andante moderato, Allegretto quasi Allegro and Allegro con fuoco) was commissioned by the flautist Claude Paul Taffenel, conductor of the Opera and the Conservatory Concerts in Paris, for his Society of Wind Instruments. It was composed in mid-1889, following Bird's Opus 28. The Musical Courier announced on 30 October 1889 that "Mr Arthur Bird, the American Bizet … has just finished (the) Suite", and it was available in autograph by correspondence with the composer through the magazine.

Its first American performance did not occur until 10 February 1908, when the Longy Club presented it in Boston at the end of a programme that included A. Magnard's Quintet, Op. 8, and Mozart's Trio for oboe, clarinet and bassoon. Harvard composer Edward Burlingame Hill noted:

"This Suite is a pleasing and melodious composition. It is coherent and well-developed in form. It lies easily within the range of the instruments, and displays no little knowledge of their resources. Moreover, its musical sentiment is pleasing and fluent throughout. It pleases by virtue of the simplicity, directness and unaffected manner in which the musical thought is unfolded."

From the front material of the score



Woolfenden: Gallimaufry

Gallimaufry by Guy Woolfenden was commissioned by the British Association of Symphonic Bands and Wind Ensembles and North West Arts in 1983, and dedicated to Trevor Nunn, then artistic director of the Royal Shakespeare Company. It was first performed by the Royal Northern College of Music Wind Orchestra, conducted by the composer, on 24 September 1983. The suite was inspired by Shakespeare's Henry IV plays and derived from music written for the Royal Shakespeare Company productions which had opened London's Barbican Theatre in 1982.

The composer defines "gallimaufry" as "a medley; any confused jumble of things; a hotchpotch made up of all the scraps of the larder, as in Shakespeare's The Winter's Tale, 'a gallimaufry of gambols'". The close relationship of the thematic material in each section produces a continuous suite which captures the spirit of the age. The sections are (1) Church and StateLeadership, the establishment, temporal and ecclesiastical power; (2) Inn and Out – The Boar's Head Tavern, the Stews, low-life revel; (3) Starts and Fits – Tavern brawl, Gadshill ambush, Pistol "the swaggerer" evicted, Mistress Quickly's rescue; (4) Father and Son – Relationship of King Henry and Falstaff to Prince Hal, real and surrogate parent; (5) Advance and Retreat – Recruiting march, derived from the Tavern tune; (6) Church and Status Quo – Falstaff rejected, Hal becomes King, order restored.

Program Notes for Band

Used by permission.



Holsinger: To Tame the Perilous Skies

To Tame the Perilous Skies
Item number 8570403
Barcode 747313040377
Release date 01/01/2007
Category Wind
Label Naxos Classics
Media type CD
Number of units 1
Composers Schoenberg, Arnold
Sousa, John Philip
Glinka, Mikhail Ivanovich
Schoenberg, Arnold
Bird, Arthur
Holsinger, David
Woolfenden, Guy
Sousa, John Philip
Glinka, Mikhail Ivanovich
Conductors Parker, Harlan D.
Orchestras Peabody Conservatory Wind Ensemble
Producers Parker, Harlan D.
Disc: 1
The Thunderer
1 Ruslan and Lyudmila: Overture (arr. M. Hindsley fo
2 Theme and Variations, Op. 43a
3 I. Allegro moderato
4 II. Andante moderato
5 III. Allegretto quasi allegro
6 IV. Allegro con fuoco
7 Gallimaufry
8 To Tame the Perilous Skies
9 The Thunderer
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